Two poorly-placed, low-velocity sinkers were turned into back-to-back lead off homers for the Braves. That set the pace for Atlanta, who beat the Phillies on a night the Negro Leagues were honored, 5-3.
Martin Prado sent Blanton’s first sinker in the mid-80’s over the left field fence to give the Braves a quick 1-0 lead. The next batter, Nate McLouth, took Blanton to dead center for a 2-0 lead.
Blanton, whose velocity is still down after coming off an injury to his right elbow, lasted only five innings for the second straight time. His replacements, J.C. Romero and Kyle Kendrick, did not do so well.
Romero and Kendrick were roughed up for three runs in the 6th off three hits and two walks. That poor inning gave the Braves a 5-1 lead, which ultimately killed the Phillies hopes of getting back in the game.
They followed up Blanton’s two-run effort on five hits, a walk and five strike outs. Though his location was good, his velocity was down and that ultimately hurt him.
With these two starts, people are starting to worry whether or not Blanton is fully healthy. His fastball topped out at 88 MPH, about 2-3 down from his usual average.
Jair Jurrjens had a perfect game going into the sixth. It was finally broken up when Michael Martinez, pinch-hitting for Blanton, ripped a base hit into center. Jimmy Rollins followed up with an RBI that scored Martinez but Rollins was thrown out trying for a triple.
The Phillies started to get to Jurrjens in the 8th, when they were trailing 5-1. Wilson Valdez hit an RBI double and scored two batters later on a ground up by John Mayberry, Jr.
Jurrjens’ night ended with one out in the 8th as he allowed three runs on three hits and a walk while striking out six.
But they couldn’t come back as Ben Francisco was struck out by Braves closer Craig Kimbrel with a runner on first to end the game.
Shane Victorino left the game in the 8th. He was feeling some soreness in his right hamstring. It’s doubtful that it’s anything serious. Victorino hasn’t missed a game all season.
2B: Rollins (7).
WP: Jurrjens (5-0). LP: Blanton (1-2). S: Kimbrel (9).